Do you want the best for your kids? We’re guessing the answer to this question of course, is a resounding YES. You’ve probably looked into martial arts for kids at some point. If you’re still on the fence about enrolling them, we’ve got news for you. Martial arts may be an opportunity you’re missing to support your child’s growth.
We’ve all got different approaches to raising our children. There is a vast difference in methods. Regardless of how you choose to parent your child, however, we’re all united by a single purpose. That is to raise fully functional adults who can take care of themselves and positively contribute to society.
That said, it is our job to empower them in many aspects: physically, mentally and socially, among others. Martial arts, for kids and adults alike, offers significant benefits and opens up a lot of learning opportunities. In this article, we’ll go over five ways martial arts can help your kids grow.
1 It helps develop physical literacy and cognitive ability
Kids need their exercise… but why, exactly? Physical activity (usually sports for kids) helps them keep their bodies disease-free. It strengthens the heart and lungs, builds muscle and bone, and boosts immune health. Not only that, it helps kids develop their physical literacy, which is the “ability, confidence, and desire to be physically active for life.”
So many people today suffer from lifestyle-related disorders such as obesity and hypertension. To avoid this, equipping your kids with physical literacy sets them up to enjoy a lifetime of good exercise habits. Simply said, keeping your kids active makes it easier for them to make good lifestyle choices as they grow older.
The benefits of martial arts, aside from physical, include cognitive development. It improves their memory, processing speed and executive function just to name a few.
We already know that kids are energetic and can get antsy from keeping still for too long. The exercise they get in martial arts can burn off this excess energy. It helps them pay more attention and put more effort into their school work. As a result, kids who move more also tend to solve puzzles better and get better grades.
2 It helps enhance their coordination
So, your child has the physical and mental abilities. What comes next? That, of course, is the ability to use the two together spontaneously as needed to complete tasks. It is the ability to use the different parts of your body. Coordination is at the heart of everything we do. It may be rushing to school, doing chores around the house, or even just going up and down the stairs.
Many people think that coordination is inherent. You’re either naturally graceful with your movements or clumsy as hell. Fortunately, we can report to you that this myth far from the truth. Coordination is a learnable skill and it’s one worth pursuing through kids’ martial arts.
4 It teaches discipline and the value of hard work
Discipline is about being able to control emotions, desires and behaviour. With it, kids learn to resist short-term gratification in favour of long-term fulfilment and satisfaction. Will they play video games now or do their homework first in order perform better in school? Will they spend all their pocket money on lollies or save it so they can buy that cool toy at the store?
The things we want to achieve in life as adults take a lot of time and effort. The more meaningful a goal is, the harder you have to work for it. This is a lesson kids have to learn from a very young age. Martial arts is the perfect way to teach that.
One good example is in the belt-based martial arts system such as BJJ. (Which, by the way, is one of the best martial arts for kids.) The BJJ promotion system is not something anyone can progress with ease, even with talent. It takes years to advance a single belt, but the prestige and sense of pride and achievement they can get from it is immense. This reinforces the value of patience and perseverance.
5 They learn how to peacefully deal with conflict
For anyone with kids, self defense classes are a thing we consider at some point. Our kids will have to interact with other kids at some point, and there inevitably will be bullies. The best kids’ martial arts are those that teach them to resolve verbal conflict before things escalate. At the same time, it should also teach self defense techniques for kids to use in case the situation calls for it.
For children, martial arts classes emphasize the importance of self-control and managing emotions. This means that they learn to stay relaxed even in tense situations and not respond in anger. Your martial arts knowledge should be used only when there is no other option, and kids’ trainers know the importance of passing on this mindset.
6 It improves confidence and self-esteem
As parents, we want to empower our kids so they go out into the world feeling like they can conquer it. For this to happen, we need to build their confidence and self-esteem. But what, exactly, does this mean?
Self-esteem is about how kids see themselves. It is about how valuable they see themselves and their contribution to their world. Positive self-esteem is what makes kids (and adults) feel good about themselves. It promotes a positive self-image. These kids feel good about themselves even without external validation. As a result, they are more likely to make good decisions in the face of peer pressure.
Kids with positive self-esteem are confident kids, and confident kids adopt a growth mindset. These kids have the confidence to take on life’s challenges. They do not shy away from the prospect of failure, so they are empowered to try new things. They feel proud of their experiences even when they fail, and they aren’t afraid of aiming high.
Martial arts equips kids with tools they can use to thrive as adults
As much as we’d like to hold our kids’ hands forever and protect them from the world, it’s not a realistic approach. What we can do however, is do our best to raise kids that can function independently and contribute positively to society. For that, we want to make sure to empower them with the best learning opportunities in childhood. Martial arts for kids is only one of the many avenues to choose from.
So, if you’re wondering, “which martial arts is best for my child?” Bear in mind that every style has their distinct pros and cons. There are also personal preferences to account for so there’s no definite answer for that. To make things a little easier for you though, we’ve put together a list of our top five martial arts for kids. You can read about it here.